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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

December 7 to December 14, 2018

Lake Erie & Tributaries

Just like last week, Lake Erie tributary levels were high and muddy at the start of the week and then slowly dropped back to fishable levels by Friday. Today, all streams except Cattaraugus Creek are in good shape with moderate flows. Considering temperatures will remain below freezing through the weekend, the Catt could be an option by Sunday. Keep an eye on the USGS (United States Geological Surveys) Water Data page for Cattaraugus Creek flow to drop below 700 cubic feet per second. There are good numbers of steelhead in the creeks, but the fishing can be a bit more challenging due to lethargic fish. Keep drifted offerings slow and low for steelhead that are hugging the bottom. Target steelhead in deeper holes, pool tailouts and slower moving seams. Downsize your float to detect light biters. Steelhead commonly take flies such as egg imitations, nymphs and wooly buggers. Drift anglers do well with egg sacs, beads and jigs with grubs fished under a float. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Shore casters are picking up a few trout in Barcelona Harbor. No word from Dunkirk Harbor.

Niagara River

Yesterday's winds riled Niagara River waters a bit. River waters are currently murky, but fishable. With lighter winds today and tomorrow, the river should be in good shape through the weekend. In the lower river, trout fishing has been good to excellent (depending on water conditions) for the past three weeks. Currently, anglers are catching a strong mix of brown trout and steelhead, with some lake trout and walleye mixed in. All of the popular drifts from Devils Hole down to the mouth of the river have been producing good trout catches. Keep that in mind when boat traffic gets heavy in the upper drifts. A three-way bottom bouncing rig with egg sacs, Kwikfish lures or trout beads works well for boaters. Shore anglers can target trout by drifting egg sacs, egg pattern flies, shiners or jigs under a float, or by casting medium-sized spoons and spinners.

Be aware that lake trout season is closed in the lower river until January 1st. Incidentally caught lake trout should be quickly returned to the water. Muskellunge season extends through December 15th on the lower river. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Fishing Platform is closed for winter season. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Fishing on the Lake Ontario tributaries is now primarily for a mix of brown trout and steelhead, although the odd fresh salmon can still surprise you. Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks have moderate flows, with 2 feet plus visibility. The small to medium streams have moderate to lower flow. Some of the smallest streams will be getting icy this weekend. See the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for more information.

Chautauqua Lake

Much of the south basin is covered with skim ice, while the north basin remains open. Walleye are available close to shore during low light periods in north basin. Casting small stickbaits works well. See the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.